Bennet Secures Colorado Priorities in Defense Authorization Bill

Washington, D.C. - Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet secured four amendments and two provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2018 that passed in the Senate today. These additions will benefit Colorado-from supporting veterans to bolstering innovation to addressing environmental contamination.

"One of our most important jobs is to ensure our servicemembers have the resources they need to defend our country overseas and return home safely," Bennet said. "Tonight's NDAA passage is a testament to the bipartisan work that can be done in this body. The amendments we secured in the package will bolster innovation, create opportunities for small business, help servicemembers transition to clean energy jobs, and protect our assets in space."

The following Bennet amendments were included in the NDAA for FY 2018:

  • Clean Energy-Ready Veterans Pilot Program: Cosponsored by Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC), the amendment ensures that a new pilot program to prepare transitioning servicemembers provides training for jobs in the clean energy and electric grid and cyber security industries, including solar, wind, geothermal, natural gas, and energy transmission and distribution infrastructure sectors. The pilot program is part of a broader Bennet Clean Energy-Ready Vets bill.
  • World War II Aviation Museum: Cosponsored by Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO), the amendment recognizes a museum in Colorado Springs, Colorado as America's National World War II Aviation Museum.
  • Multi-Use SCIFs: The amendment requires the Department of Defense (DoD) to establish processes and procedures to build multi-use sensitive compartmented information facilities (SCIFs), enclosed areas used to exchange secure information. This concept aims to provide small businesses-which often find constructing SCIFs overly burdensome-with opportunities to procure the secure space needed to compete for DoD contracts.
  • National Space Defense Center: Cosponsored by Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO), the amendment aims to more effectively defend and secure the space domain and respond to evolving space threats through bolstering integration between DoD and the intelligence community at the National Space Defense Center (NSDC) in Colorado Springs. The amendment also solidifies the NSDC's critical role in defending and securing all U.S. assets in space.

The following Bennet-backed language was also included in the NDAA for FY 2018:

  • Small Business Contracting: The provision aims to increase competition and innovation in DoD acquisition, as well as increase small business contracting with DoD. It requires the Secretary of Defense to analyze and submit a report on the effect of DoD's use of an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract vehicle, known as OASIS, on the small business community and on innovation.
  • Water Contamination: The provision, supported by Bennet, authorizes a study on the health effects of Per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), chemicals that have contaminated drinking water sources near military bases across the nation. It also authorizes increased funding to address the safety and welfare of servicemembers and their dependents. The NDAA also includes an amendment backed by Bennet to provide additional funding for Air Force environmental restoration.